HAVING A MARY SPIRIT: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out
Without true transformation, the best many of us can do on our own is alter our behavior in efforts that in the end look more like self-improvement and sin management than actual heart change. That’s why we need God to transform from the inside out. In Having a Mary Spirit, bestselling author Joanna Weaver draws on the stories of various biblical Marys as well as others who have experienced true transformation through God’s power and grace.
It’s been more than six years since Weaver finished writing the wildly popular Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World, but she still hasn’t lost her ability to connect with women and delve deeply into the issues that many of us face on a daily basis. She points out that a number of women struggle between their good-girl spirit and their bad-girl fleshly desires. In any given situation, one side may win over the other. But the key is transformation through our relationship with God.
Weaver explains that how we think can often affect how we behave and underlines the importance of placing all of our thoughts before God. She writes:
“God has recently been convicting me of such careless thinking. Of allowing thoughts to come and go much like cars crossing the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. No roadblocks. No checkpoints. No sin-sniffing dogs. No discipline of the will. Careless thinking is a dangerous habit. For as our thoughts go, so go our emotions. And as our emotions go, so often goes our faith. If the Enemy can get me confused, he can get me discouraged. If he can get me discouraged, he can cause me to doubt.”
The transformation is responsible for taking every thought captive, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5, and bringing them into obedience to Christ. She points to the power of Scripture in the transformation process.
The book circles around what Christians can do to become more like Jesus. Many of the tips are practical but welcome reminders. Listen more and speak less. Refuse to gossip. Avoid arguments. Get rid of iffy language. Choose humility. Turn to scripture. Pray constantly.
Throughout the book, Weaver quotes dozens and dozens of writers, pastors and thinkers, many of whom are popular in evangelical circles, including Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Chip Ingram and Elisabeth Elliott. Readers will enjoy the insights from a long list of well-known authors, though at times they will want to know more of what Weaver thinks and feels from her own words and expression.
One of the great strengths of Having A Mary SPIRIT is that it points us toward the One who can truly transform us. It explains that nothing is beyond God’s redemption and provides biblical insights and tools to accompany readers on the journey.
In addition, readers will find a helpful bonus feature: a 12-week Bible study designed for individual or group use that allows for digging deeper into the scripture. Recommended to women’s Bible studies and Christian book clubs everywhere.
--- Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com)
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